The International Year of Astronomy Travel

Posted By Pamela on Aug 30, 2009 | 8 comments

From Shanghai to Chicago on American

From Shanghai to Chicago on American

In case you somehow missed it, 2009 is the International Year of Astronomy. For me, that has translated into the International Year of Astronomy Travel. According to my American Advantage account, I’ve earned 71,616 qualifying miles for this year to date. Now admittedly, that included bonus miles, minimum mile increases, and two for one miles, so my actual miles traveled is somewhat less, but as I’ve visited Long Beach, Eastern Illinois, Oxford, Kansas City, New York, Ontario (California), Pasadena, Oxford (again), Minneapolis, Seattle, Shanghai, Cheju, Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Kagoshima, Rio de Janeiro, and Greenwich, well, let’s just say it’s time to buy a new suitcase. And the travel isn’t over! I have two more big trips this month, and then AAVSO and dotAstronomy in November and December.

Dragon*Con, Sept 4-7, 2009, Atlanta, GA

Here be Dragons (and more)


Next weekend, Labor Day weekend, I’ll be at Dragon*Con, along with Phil Plait, George Hrab, and the SkepChicks.

A Full Moon for Cancer

While there won’t exactly be a fan meetup at Dragon*Con, I would like to extend a personal invitation to all of you to the “A Full Moon for Cancer” Star Party, in memory of the Blue Collar Scientist, Jeff Medkeff. Phil Plait and I will be hosting this event on Thursday September 3 at the Bradley Observatory at Agnes Scott College. All proceeds from the event will go to the American Cancer Society.

The Main (Dragon*Con) Event

Here is my current schedule:

  • Title: Feminine Mystique: Women in Engineering & Science
    Fri 02:30 pm Location: 203 – Hilton (Length: 1)
    Description: Women make their mark! These engineers & scientists explain how they got involved, what they do & how to get your sisters & daughters to do the same.
    Panel: G. Mauldin-Kinney, Dr. P. Gay, L. Burns, T. Ray, K. Steadman
  • Title: Citizen Science
    Sat 11:30 am Location: 202 – Hilton (Length: 1)
    Science wouldn’t be where it is today without the contributions of everyday people like you. Learn how to take part in all of the fun.
    Dr. Pamela L. Gay
  • Title: The Big Bang: How It All Got Started
    Time: Sat 05:30 pm Location: 203 – Hilton (Length: 1)
    Description: It started atomically small & is still expanding. What was the Big Bang & how do we know it happened.
    Speaker: Dr. Pamela L. Gay
  • Title: The Astronomer, the Alien Hunter, and a UFO Skeptic
    Sat 07:00 pm Location: Crystal Ballroom – Hilton (Length: 1)
    Description: Three of the worlds leading researchers, and skeptics, discuss the state of UFO and Alien paranoia here and around the world.
    Moderator / MC for panel: Pamela L. Gay
    Panel: Phil Plait, Seth Shostak, J. Nickell
  • Title: Are We Alone: A Discussion
    Time: Sun 10:00 am Location: 207 / 206 / 205 – Hilton (Length: 1)
    Description: Seth Shostak discusses the current public outreach goals of SETI, and how using the skeptical mindset relates to the work at SETI as a whole.
    Panel: Drs. Phil Plait, Seth Shostak, and Pamela L. Gay
  • Title: AstronomyCast LIVE!
    Time: Sun 02:30 pm Location: 204 – Hilton (Length: 1)
    Description: Join Dr. Pamela Gay, the award winning host of “The Astronomy Cast” and her special guest, SETI’s Seth Shostak.
    Panel: Drs Pamela L. Gay and Seth Shostak
  • Title: Galaxy Zoo
    Time: Sun 07:00 pm Location: 203 – Hilton (Length: 1)
    Description: Citizen science. Ordinary people helping to classify thousands of galaxies.
    Speaker: Dr. Pamela L. Gay
  • Title: Brazilianisms – Live!
    Time: Mon 10:00 am Location: 204 – Hilton (Length: 1)
    Description: Kinsey Swartz brings his international podcast about an American living in Brazil, to Dragon*Con!
  • Title: Backyard AstroPhysics – You Don’t Need a Ph.D to Do Astronomy
    Time: Mon 02:30 pm Location: 203 – Hilton (Length: 1)
    Description: Our glorious night sky. Love astronomy but fear ‘physics’? You can have the wonders of our universe with ease in your own backyard.
    Panel: Drs Bill Keel and Pamela L. Gay

I will also be sitting at the International Year of Astronomy table in the Hilton during these hours: Friday 10am-12pm &4pm-5pm; Saturday 10am-11am; Sunday 12pm-2pm; and Monday 12pm-2pm. Come by, say hi, and register for a chance to win a Galileoscope!

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific Meeting

And September 12-16, I’ll be at what may be the worst conference venue ever: The San Fransisco Airport Westin will host the 120th Annibersary meeting of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. I love the work the ASP does, I just really wish this meeting wasn’t at the airport of one of the coolest cities in the US (then again – maybe this is how they keep us at the meeting). I will be arranging a fan meet up once I have my full schedule. I suspect I’m going to aim for Wednesday night somewhere other than the airport 😉

Somewhere over Florida

Somewhere over Florida

And a final word on traveling…

So far, I have to admit, I’ve faired fairly well. I’ve spent the night only once in Chicago. While my luggage was lost twice in 2008, I managed to keep my luggage with me so far through 2009. I’ve managed to keep my personal loses to a minimum. In addition to misplacing the standard small flock of miniature bottles of toiletries and hair elastics (no big deal), I also shed a pair of favorite sun glasses, a travel pillow, and the two prong square bit that allows me to plug my Mac power brick into a US wall. All in all, not too bad. I think I also misplaced some of my sanity, which I do miss, but I’m hoping to find it again sometime in 2010.


  1. M’am i admire you so much .just wish you could visit India once i would get to see you in person.

  2. i would LOVE to attend an event where you are a speaker. I can only hope you come to DC area again

  3. I can only hope you come to NSW in Australia, Pamela, so I could listen to you speak in person.

  4. Oh what fun… Just three quick notes Pamela.
    1.Congratulations on all your success. (well deserved)
    2.Stole some graphics from you to make a banner… Oh not that bad dear, was a banner to lead to your site. Your our featured site this week.
    3. Would love to do some collaboration on some projects sometime, if interested.
    Heidi-Ann Kennedy
    Scientific Frontline

  5. I enjoyed your panels at Dragon*Con this weekend. It was my first D*C, and I didn’t even know they had science programming, so finding it was a pleasant surprise!

  6. Perhaps you should save up 186,000 miles before you use them, in honor of our friend the photon.

  7. Have you ever come to the Denver Metro Area? I go to CU Boulder, a very well known school in astronomy, and I know that we would love for you to speak at the Boulder Astronomy and Space Society. I myself am involved in advertising for the astronomy industry (you should check out my twitter!) and would love some of your valuable insight into the field. I’d really appreciate an email or a twitter “hit!”

  8. Hi Laura,

    I haven’t made it to Denver yet, but when I travel and have time I will twitter about meetups. 🙂

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